Are you Missing the Obvious?
I’ve shared many stories about my brother. His struggles are my struggles. Although I wish there weren’t so many, I’m thankful for the many life-lessons I’ve learned through him – like loving others even when they are difficult to like.
Because he was mentally challenged, he always struggled in school. What discouraged him most wasn’t his failure in the classroom – it was the fact that he was very aware that he was different.
When he was a teenager, he became so obsessed with wanting to be accepted by others that he made an appointment to see a plastic surgeon. I was heartbroken when he told me that he wanted to change his face so that when others would look at him – they would see a ‘normal’ person.
I honestly don’t recall what I said back then, but I do remember thinking how difficult it was to come up with the words to explain that his face had nothing to do with it.
Not to criticize my parents, but I remember getting into B I G trouble for even talking about the fact that Rob had a disability. It was frustrating to me. I felt like we had to treat the obvious like it was a secret. It just seemed like it would have made life so much easier if they had talked openly with Rob about it, and then in the same breath – listed all of his unique strengths.
Before Rob had his license, he would ride his bike. Everywhere. I was amazed how far he would go – by himself. He would take trips to Michigan, Kentucky, and all over Indiana. Why? He was searching for a place where he would be surrounded by people who made him feel good about life.
When my brother finally learned to love who he was – he finally stopped searching for that perfect group of people. He eventually learned to appreciate and love life where he was – even though it was difficult sometimes. He learned that the grass sometimes looks greener on the other side, but the other side contains just as many weeds and thorns. Finally, he learned that relying on others to make him feel good about life wasn’t working.
Reflecting on this part of his life has made me think of so many people who are doing the same thing today with church. They are searching for a church family where they feel loved and accepted for who they are – that place where they can finally fit in. Some seem to find it, and some become so frustrated with people that they give up and stay home.
How about you? Are you going from church to church, only to come home with feelings of frustration rather than fulfillment? If so, perhaps you are missing the obvious. Church buildings are filled with sinners, hypocrites, liars, and everyone else who need God’s love, wisdom, and forgiveness – just as much as you do. Perhaps those people – those thorns who are placed in your life are there for a reason.
Don’t miss the obvious.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers,[a] what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:43-48
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28